CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Alaina Getzenberg/The Charlotte Observer) - As the Panthers prepare to move on Ron Rivera, another part of the team’s future is taking the next step forward.
Quarterback Cam Newton will be having surgery on his left foot, per a source. He suffered the Lisfranc injury in the team’s third preseason game vs. the Patriots. He played the first two games of the regular season, both losses, but then did not play again.
The Panthers placed him on injured reserve on November 5, which raises questions of why it took so long for Newton to elect to go the surgical route.
Recovery from this type of surgery could take anywhere from 6-10 weeks or longer depending on the injury. There have been many questions about Newton’s future in Carolina. Tuesday owner David Tepper spoke on Newton, saying that it was unknown if the Panthers would also be moving on from their quarterback of nine years.
“Hopefully Cam’s healthy, I frankly don’t know and neither does Cam right now,” Tepper said.
With Newton electing to get surgery, the Panthers will have a clearer timetable for getting answers on the quarterback’s health.
Earlier Wednesday, former Panthers coach Ron Rivera had his final press conference after being relieved of his duties the day prior. Rivera spoke on his hope for Newton going forward.
“Unfortunately at the end the injuries caught up to him a little bit, and I think now the uncertainty is going to be ironed out,” Rivera said. “He’ll come back and we’ll see what happens to him. But they were great. And I can really, truly say this, in my nine years the young man has been nothing but upfront with me, honest, supportive, caring. He’s been a great guy and I really did appreciate it.”
Rivera also mentioned that he knows what Newton is capable of, “We saw last year until the Pittsburgh game what a healthy Cam can do.”
In a vlog the quarterback released in September, he shared that he had to see for himself that playing at less than 100 percent was not acceptable.
“I needed to see that me at 80 percent was not OK,” Newton said. “I realize it’s okay to take time. I’ve just gotta get right.”
He met with Rivera and Hurney about his health following the second game of the season vs. Tampa Bay. The group agreed the best solution — both for Newton’s long-term future and for the team in the short-term — was for Newton to let his foot fully heal.
Newton met with a variety of doctors including flying to Green Bay to meet with renowned foot specialist Dr. Robert Anderson, formerly an assistant team physician with the Panthers.
This season the 30-year old will have missed more games this season than in his previous eight seasons combined (five previously). He has one year remaining on his contract and will count for about $21 million against the 2020 salary cap.
If the Panthers were to release Newton before next season, they could save $19 million and would only incur $2 million in dead money.